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Aug 26, 2014
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Home of the New Balance: Nota bene (2014)

rogers-with-logo

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
John F. Kennedy, Inaugural speech, January 20, 1961

Everyone knows it; the province of New Brunswick is in dire straits. The Auditor General, Kim MacPherson, describes the debt problem as “very concerning” and is calling for “significant changes to improve the financial health” of the province.[1] Every four years, the election cycle kicks in; electoral signs pop up everywhere and talking heads reveal their latest strategies to resolve the ever-growing debt problem. The best plan of action for many is to encourage gas exploration by means of hydraulic fracturing. Many are opposed. We know details of the proposed scenario, but never the whole story. What I would like to propose here is another way of resolving this lingering problem.

Sao Paulo, the 4th largest urban area in the world, believes that prohibiting advertising such as outdoor posters will free its citizens, the province of New Brunswick, the 8th smallest province in Canada, could certainly take example from this South American city and do exactly the opposite.[2] Let’s give advertisers what they are denied in Brazil: a world of total advertisement! We need to surrender, to abandon not only the sides of our roads and of our buildings but our very own nomenclature! We need to become somebody else! We need to BECOME THE SPONSORS! The idea is not new; other places have traded their souls before. In 1999, the village of Halfway, Oregon, changed its name to Half.com for a one-year period in accordance to a contract with the eBay subsidiary. In 2005, the town of Clark, Texas changed its name to DISH. In return the company DISH Network awarded DISH residents free cable service and programming for a period of 10 years. This lease is expiring very soon and if logic prevails, that little town’s name could switch to Netflix in the future.

What has never been done is what New Brunswick could try now, a systemic change of names. The names of all villages and towns, all roads, all monuments, all public buildings, even the name of the province would be on the shopping block. There are many ‘naturals’, names of company that could fit with existing communities. Through a sponsorship agreement with the communications and media company, the well known Rogersville could become Rogers. By adding an S to the town of Bailey in Sunbury County, they could probably make a deal with Gilbeys of Ireland, makers of the famous Baileys Irish Cream. Bay du Vin, on the south shore of Miramichi Bay, would certainly attract the interests of any number of wine makers. The little rural community of Burton could stay the same as long as Burton Snowboards get on board, so to speak. Add Tyres to Dunlop in Gloucester County and you get Dunlop Tyres. Popelogan Depot, an unincorporated community in Restigouche County could drop the Popelogan for Home and become Home Depot, and so on. As far as the name ‘New Brunswick’ goes, the footwear manufacturer New Balance seems to have the ideal credentials to take the big prize, in exchange for lots of royalties for NBers. Their logo is already a match with the current abbreviation of our province. On the other hand, settlements like Big Hole in Northumberland County and Baghdad near Grand Lake might have to be rebranded altogether. But imagine if there was a town called Sony, Irving or IBM. For one, the locals would have interesting demonyms. The IBMminions could even sing songs from their parent benefactor. The collection: Songs of The I.B.M. published in 1931 includes Painting the clouds with sunshine by J. P. Saxton:

We don’t pretend we’re gay.
We always feel that way,
Because we’re filling the world with sunshine.
With I.B.M. machines,
We’ve got the finest means,
For brightly painting the clouds with sunshine.
Records we make only to break,
Teaching the whole world we know
I.B.M.’s line, will all the time,
Help it to grow.
When things do not look right,
Our products make them right,
And keep on painting the clouds with sunshine.[3]

This grand project would not only redefine our onomastic landscape, it would also create a boom on employment: the lawyers, of course; the signage industry; the mapmakers and souvenir shops, would all be working overtime. But that’s not all; an underground network of hard-core genealogists unhappy with all of the changes could rise in every corner of the province of New Balance. Members of these cells would try to keep the old ways alive. It would be foolish to try to crush them. Au contraire, they should be encouraged, even if we have to create historical parks of taxonomy. Le Pays de la Sagouine and King’s Landing are two obvious models for this new world of ours. As for the sets of names to be sold, they would be auctioned to the highest bidder and would be legally binding according to the agreements drawn up by the province’s lawyers. With this plan, I truly believe that we could be out of debt in no time. If the DISH people, with the weight of all of their 201 citizens, got free cable for ten years, imagine what we could negotiate right here!

Daniel Dugas
Aug 23, 2014

P.S. Speaking words and marketing, we all recall the heated debate surrounding the slogan on New Brunswick’s licence plates: Be… In this place – Être… ici on le peut. As we know the slogan was discarded. The funny thing is that the province of New Brunswick was standing right in front of it’s very own slogan, a phrase that spells it’s own name, and on top of it all: a phrase that could be read in both official languages. This silver bullet is the Latin expression Nota bene, a phrase that means, “note well” and is often abbreviated as N.B. in English and N. B. in French. Sometimes ideas are sitting in front of us and only need only be picked up.

 

Part 2:
Spem reduxit / Hope restored (2014)

 

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[1] Auditor General troubled by debt growth, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/auditor-general-troubled-by-debt-growth-1.2451996

[2] The city of Sao Paulo promulgated in 2006 the Cidada Limpa (Clean City Law) banning all outdoor advertising. The text stipulates that every citizen has a right to live in a city that respects the urban space, heritage and architectural integrity of the buildings. http://ww2.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/cidadelimpa/conheca_lei/conheca_lei.html

[3] Songs of The I.B.M. Fellowship Songs of International Business Machines Corporation, 270 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 1937. Painting the clouds with sunshine, p.14. http://www.robweir.com/blog/attachments/songs-of-the-ibm.pdf

Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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